Using state child labor laws to identify the causal effect of youth employment on deviant behavior and academic achievement

Robert Apel, Shawn D. Bushway, Raymond Paternoster, Robert Brame, Gary Sweeten

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

49 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

On the basis of prior research findings that employed youth, and especially intensively employed youth, have higher rates of delinquent behavior and lower academic achievement, scholars have called for limits on the maximum number of hours per week that teenagers are allowed to work. We use the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1997 to assess the claim that employment and work hours are causally related to adolescent problem behavior. We utilize a change model with age-graded child labor laws governing the number of hours per week allowed during the school year as instrumental variables. We find that these work laws lead to additional number of hours worked by youth, which then lead to increased high school dropout but decreased delinquency. Although counterintuitive, this result is consistent with existing evidence about the effect of employment on crime for adults and the impact of dropout on youth crime.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)337-362
Number of pages26
JournalJournal of Quantitative Criminology
Volume24
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2008

Fingerprint

labor law
child labor
deviant behavior
academic achievement
drop-out
Crime
offense
Student Dropouts
effect on employment
Adolescent Behavior
delinquency
school
Longitudinal Studies
adolescent
Law
evidence
Research

Keywords

  • Crime and deviance
  • Instrumental variables
  • Longitudinal data
  • School performance
  • Youth employment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Law

Cite this

Using state child labor laws to identify the causal effect of youth employment on deviant behavior and academic achievement. / Apel, Robert; Bushway, Shawn D.; Paternoster, Raymond; Brame, Robert; Sweeten, Gary.

In: Journal of Quantitative Criminology, Vol. 24, No. 4, 12.2008, p. 337-362.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Apel, Robert ; Bushway, Shawn D. ; Paternoster, Raymond ; Brame, Robert ; Sweeten, Gary. / Using state child labor laws to identify the causal effect of youth employment on deviant behavior and academic achievement. In: Journal of Quantitative Criminology. 2008 ; Vol. 24, No. 4. pp. 337-362.
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